|Share this article
EU leaders have agreed to cut the bloc’s spending for the first time in its history.
The headline figure of 960 billion euros is down by three percent from the last seven-year budget.
But member states have actually pledged less than that in payments.
Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister turned MEP and leader of the liberals in the European Parliament, said this budget would result in a 52 billion euro deficit.
“Heads of government say we must fix our public finances, pass a Stability pact (an EU rule on spending) and rein in our deficits,” he told euronews.
“But now we’ll have a deficit at the European level as a means of fixing their national problems.”
The largest parts of the budget remain agricultural and regional funds.
But EU officials say cash spent on farming will be gradually reduced over the seven year period to 28 percent of the total, from 39 percent now.
Ten billion euros will be shaved off future infrastructure projects, while the EU administration will be asked to find 1.5 billion euros of savings.
Six billion euros has been set aside to help countries where youth unemployment is more than 25 percent.